Thursday, July 7, 2011

Book review: Fall of Light by Nina Kiriki Hoffman

Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Ace Hardcover (May 5, 2009)

Summary: Opal LaZelle is a special effects make-up artist, transforming actors into fantastical and grotesque creatures. Unknown to the casts and crews of the films she works on, Opal is gifted in the art of magic-and she applies more than make-up when altering an actor's features.

Her latest job requires turning Corvus Weather into a dark god of the forest. But when Corvus's performance becomes too convincing-on set and off-Opal realizes he's not acting. Something has taken possession of Corvus. Something sinister tied to the town's past, with the ability to absorb the very essence of life. Something Opal doesn't have enough power to confront, much less drive from the man she has fallen in love with.

Review: I will admit I pick up some books because of their covers. The paperback art for Fall of Light was gorgeous and my first impression was fairies. Then I read the blurb. Make-up artist + witch + supernatural happenings. I am intrigued by the Green Man lore and the concept of the power of nature. OK, I was curious and I picked it up on sale. I finished last weekend. I liked the premise, I liked Opal, her witch skills were cool and the idea of working on movie sets and using her magic fascinated me. 
When she figures out the fictional character Dark God/Phrixos has begun to take over her friend and love interest, Corvus, the story took on another dimension. The Dark God played a continual game of cat-and-mouse with Opal which definitely kept me reading and waiting. And waiting.  By the time I wrapped up the book, I felt unsatisfied. The book had so much going for it and I was invested in Opal, in her love for actor Corvus, in this 'Dark God', in the filming of the movie, and the lot of secondary characters were all different and interesting. And then there was a constant "but..." to my thoughts. 

Something was missing. I expected some big type of climatic scene, something to let me know exactly what the supernatural being (s) involved were, what they wanted, etc. To an extent I 'got' what was going on, yet I wanted more. There was no battle, not much force exerted, everything seemed more internal, soft and quiet. But Opal's a WITCH with some mighty COOL powers which I expected to see her let loose at some point. And did I mention how she was able to talk and hang with her 'bad' witch-self inside her intricately laid-out mind? Double cool points there. There were parts of Opal's powers I wanted to know more about and her other family members. 

 When Opal's Uncle Tobias shows up (after she calls her family for help) I figured, "here goes!" By the time I reached the end of the chapter he was leaving (Opal had to face the darkness on her own). The ending seemed abrupt so I expected to see this story continue on and discovered it was the second title in the LaZelle series (after A Fistful of Sky). I liked the author's writing style and creative fantastical elements.  Fall of Light was an involving yet frustrating read with an anti-climatic ending. Some may like this particular type of set-up but I did feel cheated. Since I enjoyed Hoffman's writing I will pick up another of her titles.

Favorite excerpt: "She loaded a makeup sponge with solvent and lifted it, ready to press it against Corvus's chest. "Shed, skin," she whispered. She tugged gently at the edge of a leaf, and the leaf skin split and slid beneath her fingers, baring Corvus's chest, its halves sliding off him like silk to pool around the chair in heaps. Detached, the leaves looked like net fabric painted with color, dull and dark on the inside. It was like nothing she had ever worked with.

"Wow," she said. She touched his face. "Shed, skin," she whispered again, and the mask split down along the middle of his forehead, the spine of his nose, the philtrum beneath, the middle of his mouth, the cleft in his chin. It fell apart in two soft halves and pooled above his shoulders against the back of the chair. She gathered the halves and placed them on her plaster cast of his head, where they welded together and formed the face he had just worn.

She looked back at Corvus, restored to his nonmonster face, his smile steady, his hair rumpled, a few leaves still caught in it. He looked like her Corvus, except for the resident green glow in his eyes.

"Phrixos," she whispered."" (from pages 229-230)

Cover comment: The main reason I picked this book up was for the pretty cover and blurb. 

Rating: I liked it, but....

Book source: Purchased

1 comment:

  1. I've got to admit, that cover would make me pick it up too! My feelings are mixed though. Perhaps I'll give it a try.